L'ornementation des bracelets de l'âge du Bronze européen : analyse descriptive et perspectives

Abstract : This paper discusses the ornamental patterns of metal bracelets worn on the arms and legs of people during the European Bronze Age. A method has been specially created to study geometric patterns. Some sets of metal bands (bracelets métalliques) of Bronze Age reach a high level of complexity due to the use of combined patterns in an overall structure. This paper deals with an experimental criterion concerning this phenomenon. The methodology, developed for the purpose i.e. the experimental criterion developed for the purpose of this study, was to extract geometric patterns from the original media. The principle is to release the geometrical compositions of the deformations induced by the morphology of bracelets. The use of an orthogonal plane benchmark achieves this goal. This reform reaches its ultimate form once obtained for the surface that reproduces decor infinity (extensive view). Each pattern is converted from a three to a two dimensional orthogonal basis. The three dimensional plane of the archaeological object is abandoned. Thus a general classification becomes possible within an identical system of perception without deformations and with an observation of the criterion of the arrangement of patterns. The continuation of the experimental criterion goes through the extraction of the metal band's sequence on the new normalized orthogonal plane. It then happens to make a global classification in a common perception. In this way, three methods lead to the development of stylistic trees on geometric criteria. The regressive method consists in identifying the most complex ornament and adding the attenuated or lighter forms in descending order. Metal band of type Clans on French Mediterranean coast is used to illustrate this first way. At the level of the dataset, the regres-sive method shows us that there is no complex forms in creatio ex nihilo. But other methods are needed when complex forms use particular ways. The stylistic derivation applies to complex and comparable shapes with their own specificities, enbling us to differentiate them in a linear order. Metal band of type Poype in the southeastern quarter of France is used to illustrate this second manner. The spatial cluster of occurrences and typochronolgy give a specific context with a displacement from east to west across western Alps. The third ordered approach means as a starting point a complex case with specific organization which undergoes transformation while keeping a portion of the original arrangement. The entitled progressive method puts an emphasis on these changes brought to pattern rules suitable for a linear reading. Metal bands of type Bignan in NorthWest of Europe is used to illustrate this third manner, titled progressive method. The key of its last method is the progressive modification of the organization into panels. Typochronological analysis sets in time with a spatial perspective. It demonstrates a large dispersion of last branches of Bignan stylistic tree at the transition of Middle and Final Bronze Age in France. For each method, the different series of shapes concern a partial retention of the presentation despite the difference between patterns and the changes of specific layouts or overall arrangements. With this in mind, seemingly dissimilar adornments may belong to a common root via remote branches within a stylistic tree. Therefore, the cognitive root is the epitome of an ornamental strategy answering certain rules and resulting in a dataset. We can so see ornament in a different perspective of traditional types. A lot of possibility of comparisons from nuances is possible without the criterion of metal bands morphology. Stylistic trees demonstrate too their strong heuristic value by illustrating the process of transformation in relation to space and time. Typochronology sets in time certain branches while maps record locations, distributions, distances and movements between other branches. Delaunay triangle mapping connects the nearest occurrences while drawing most active areas across European water system basins over a period of eight centuries. The cluster of stylistic trees of type Bignan, Clans, and Poype are shown with the graphic introduction of different branches. The role played by surface views in the experimental criterion finds an echo in the archaeological documentation. Similar sets on the Neolithic ceramic of the Chassey Culture give a first argument in favor of their relevance. To the Chalcolithic period, it is necessary to add the Iberian engraved platelets as well as the engraved and reutilized steles from the Sion necropolis in Switzerland. The comparison between Neolithic and Chalcolitic periods suggests an evolution in patterns used during the Bronze Age. The Continental Middle and Late Bronze Age also presents extensive views which are directly visible on the archaeological objects. The so-called 'sticks of command' provide similar extensive sets to metal bands from the same geographical area. The brocade fabric from Molina di Ledro presents the same type of patterns to those on a extensive view of a bracelet from Arbedo-Castione and a wea-ving's comb in deer's antlers from Terramare. The figurative art of Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations provides a rich comparative regard on Mediterranean textile ornamentation of Bronze Age. This region shows the high level of ornamentation on male and female clothing which find an echo among continental Europe. We can apply the regressive method inside different styles. Needle work and some clothing patterns also appear as simulacra on metal and ceramic according to the principle of the doctrine of signatures. As a result of which, the orthogonal view purposely exceeds the original media. The view focuses on the distribution of patterns within an overall structure. The exploratory purposes of this approach also invite us to take into account the influence of textile on metal band adornment from the clothing of the elite.
Document type :
Conference papers
Liste complète des métadonnées

Cited literature [116 references]  Display  Hide  Download

Contributor : Sophie Desbois-Garcia <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 3:21:13 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 11, 2019 - 6:02:14 PM
Document(s) archivé(s) le : Saturday, August 12, 2017 - 12:31:08 PM


Explicit agreement for this submission


  • HAL Id : halshs-01519988, version 1



Vincent Georges. L'ornementation des bracelets de l'âge du Bronze européen : analyse descriptive et perspectives. Normes et variabilités au sein de la culture matérielle des sociétés de l’âge du Bronze , Jun 2013, Dijon, France. pp.51-83. ⟨halshs-01519988⟩



Record views


Files downloads